The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, on Tuesday, expressed concern over the continued rejection of gunshot victims by hospitals in the country.
This, the ministry said, was against the provisions of the Gunshot Act 2017, “which mandates all medical facilities to provide for the compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshots and related matters.”
In a statement by its Director of Information, Patricia Deworitshe, the ministry called on medical facilities to comply with the Act, noting that “strategies are being put in place by the ministry to ensure compliance to the Act by Nigerian healthcare facilities.”
The statement quoted the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate, as stressing that gunshot victims must be attended to by hospitals because they “come under medical emergencies that require urgent attention to save the life of the patient or victim.”
The Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 was signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Act stipulates that every hospital in Nigeria, whether public or private, shall accept or receive, for immediate and adequate treatment with or without police clearance, any person with gunshot wounds.
It also mandates all citizens, including security agents, to render every possible assistance to and ensure that a person with a gunshot wound is taken to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment.
However, the health minister on Tuesday noted that in recent times, the country had witnessed a rise in the loss of lives of gunshot victims and those who escaped from one-chance kidnappers as a result of the refusal of health facilities to attend them on the excuse that the victims failed to present police reports.
The Minister also urged the police to comply with and enforce the provisions of the Act with promptness.
He reassured health facilities in the country that treatment of gunshot victims is not illegal.